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[′dräp ‚in]
(computer science)
The accidental appearance of an unwanted bit, digit, or character on a magnetic recording surface or during reading from or writing to a magnetic storage device.


(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Sometimes a spirit unknown to any of the sitters in attendance will “appear” at a séance. Usually the medium’s spirit guide will ensure that this does not happen, but occasionally a “drop-in” does appear. Occasionally, if the medium is engaged in direct voice (the spirit is speaking through the medium), a drop-in will speak in a foreign language. Guiley states that in rare cases, “The appearance of a drop-in is accompanied by physical phenomena such as table tilting, rappings, mysterious lights, apports, scents, and strange whistles, whisperings and breathing.”

Uncontrolled séances such as talking board sessions or automatic writing are prone to entertain drop-ins. Frequently these are spirits who want to make contact with those they have left behind on the physical plane, and are hoping to make use of the sitters to arrange a connection with those particular people. Others are simply lonely spirits wanting to speak with anyone, or to achieve something in particular. An example of the latter was Patience Worth, who originally contacted Pearl Curran by way of an Ouija® board and used Curran as a means of producing vast amounts if literature; novels and poetry.

One of the positive aspects of drop-ins is that they invariably show proof that the medium is not receiving intelligence by way of extrasensory perception from the sitters. Usually information provided by drop-ins is totally unknown to anyone present and has to be verified by careful research. In 1971, Nottingham University Professor of Psychology Alan Gauld worked with information received from a drop-in via both a talking board and automatic writing. After careful research, Gauld found that in ten cases out of thirty-seven, the information given by the drop-in about identity and former life was correct. The information included exact names, addresses, and occupations.


Gauld, Alan: Proceedings, #55—A Series of Drop-In Communicators. London: Society for Psychical Research, July 1971
Guiley, Rosemary Ellen: The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits. New York: Facts On File, 1992
Holroyd, Stuart: The Supernatural: Psychic Voyages. London: Aldus, 1976
Stevenson, Ian and John Beloff: Proceedings, No. 427-447—An Analysis of Some Suspect Drop-In Communicators. London: Society for Psychical Research, September 1980
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References in periodicals archive ?
On Friday, drop-ins will be held at Jarrow Community Association, from 10.
BHP Law is hosting the drop-ins at the Fellowship Hall, West Street, in Yarm, on the first Thursday of every month from 9am-10am and the last Friday of every month from noon-1pm.
Gary Scott, chairman of Band Together For Our NHS, said: "Most people haven't even heard there's a consultation or drop-in sessions.
The governors of both schools have agreed to consider the proposals and are holding drop-in sessions ahead of the formal consultation process.
Free silver surfers drop-ins continue at Bedworth CAB, Higham Lane School, Nuneaton, and Guideposts Community Caf, Nuneaton.
The Dudley Respect Yourself Campaign (DRYC) has set up four text numbers which will send back details of clinics, sexual health drop-ins, emergency hormonal contraception and pharmacies.
And there will be drop-ins at the Whitley Bay Customer First Centre, in York Road, every Thursday, between 11am and 1pm, until November 19.
The drop-ins will run from 4pm to 8pm at the Battlehill Community Centre on Monday, at Howdon Community Centre on Tuesday, and at Buddle Arts Centre on Wednesday.
The drop-ins will take place at the Forum on January 31, 10am to 1pm; February 1, 1pm to 4pm; February 2, 10am to 1pm; at Wallsend Library on February 5, 5pm to 7pm; and February 6, 10am to 12.
Anyone wanting more information about the drop-ins should ring Rose McGinty or Vicky Howard on freephone (0800) 195 9509 and for details about neighbourhood action plans, call Craig Ellis on (0191) 433 3229.
For more information about the drop-ins, call Rose McGinty or Vicky Howard on 0800 195 95 09.